Church-goers welcome new year with worship service

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; People watch the old year go and the new year come in different ways &045; at parties, at home or, for some, at church.

Many area churches held their annual watch meetings Wednesday night to &uot;watch&uot; 2004 come, said the Rev. Raymond T. Riley, to fellowship and to thank God for the past year.

Sermons, testimonials, hymns, praises and clapping of hands rang through many of the churches of the Miss-Lou as they did just that.

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They will use a &uot;few minutes to reflect on what God brought us through the previous year,&uot; Riley said of his church members at New Jerusalem Baptist Church No. 2, and consider &uot;things to look forward to spiritually for the new year.&uot;

But Riley said he will remind them, like every year, to be watchful for Jesus daily and encourage them to get their lives right spiritually for the new year.

The Rev. Dan Alexander of Zion Flower Missionary Baptist Church said the joint congregations that meet at his church Wednesday praised God and gave testimonies of what God has done during the year.

&uot;We are just thanking him we made it through this year,&uot; Alexander said.

And many did praise God at Zion Wednesday night, for not just the good times but for the bad times in their lives, saying God was there through it all.

&uot;Nobody can tell me what God cannot do,&uot; Shemeka Moore told the crowd after she described her vehicle accident a few weeks ago. She and her daughters flipped in the car several times but came out without a scratch.

There were many testimonials about what God did for people throughout the year.

Five-year-old Kira Smith, who attended Zion Wednesday, said she came to church because, &uot;I like praisin’ Š ’cause I love God.&uot;

Young and old did gather together for the meeting, as they did around the Miss-Lou, and the combined choir said it all when they sang, &uot;We’re going to have a good time, c’mon in this house and praise the Lord.&uot;

&uot;I like to end my year in the worship service, and I try to be in service throughout the year,&uot; Second Union Baptist Church member Gertrude Wilson said.

Added Zion member Alberta Sewell: &uot;This is the end of the year and God has blessed us this far Š it’s a blessing to worship him Š to bring the new year in.&uot;